I recently got the chance to talk to actor and stunt performer Alice Rietveld about her role in ‘Twilight’ spoof, ‘Breaking Dawn’. Here, Alice talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and which three people she would invite to dinner…
Hey Alice. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Breaking Wind’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film? I understand it’s a comic spoof on the ‘Twilight’ series?
That’s exactly it Matt, a spoof on the series! If you’ve seen Craig’s previous work of ‘Bad Ass’ and ‘The 41 Year Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall And Felt Superbad About It’ you would have a pretty good idea of how he writes and shoots. ‘Breaking Wind’ says it all – bring on the fart jokes!
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Alice, Ashley Greene’s character. She’s a clairvoyant vampire, member of the ‘Colon’ family and Jasper’s soul mate. I basically milk the clairvoyance part.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
My agent sent me out on a last-minute audition going in for the role of Victoria. I was at a friend’s house when I printed up the scene and she said she remembered it from ‘Eclipse’. We fast forwarded to the scene and I did just that for the audition with a bit of exaggerated drama. I was sitting in the waiting room when the producer popped his head out and he looked at me a bit confused, he wasn’t quite sure why I wasn’t reading for Alice and neither did I. I went in, did my Victoria read and Craig laughed, but thought I would be a much better fit for Alice. Tons of white make up and blank stares later…
How would you say this film is different and unique to both the ‘Twilight’ series and general comedy films?
I think it stands in a class of its own…(smile).
The film stars Heather Ann Davis, Eric Callero, Frank Pacheco, Michael Adam Hamilton, your good self, John Stevenson and Rebecca Ann Johnson – with Craig Moss onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
My stomach hurt from laughing so much! Peter Gilroy who played Jasper, my ‘husband’, is a comic genius and he had me in tears all day long! But not only him, the entire cast and crew was hilarious! Everyone was a comedian and it just made for pure enjoyment. The hardest part was trying to keep a straight face. Craig is amazing to work for too, he’s super laid back, easy-going and very open to ideas. A director definitely sets the tone for a project and he created a very open, uninhibited, creative environment that allowed for all of us to feel right at home.
We should mention that you were also a stunt performer in the original ‘Twilight’ film – does it feel strange to having worked on both films?
I wouldn’t say strange at all. I almost feel like I was cheating playing the role of Alice because I actually had first hand experience working with her and was pretty familiar with her mannerisms. Working on ‘Twilight’ as a stunt double happened to actually be my first stunt job and a serious crash course at that, it was a very unique experience for me. I had no previous stunt training except for my dance background/extreme sports. I was literally hired because I was a great double physically for both Kristin and Ashley. The stunt coordinator tested me out in the first few days and I thankfully passed and ended up working on it for two months. I can’t lie, it was fun making fun of it!
Let’s talk a bit about you Alice. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
Well, I started my career as a modern dancer in The Netherlands, but it wasn’t quite how I had pictured it to be. You danced 10 hours a day, 6 days a week and got paid enough to buy food for the week. I quickly made the decision to move back to Florida, where I grew up and shortly after was persuaded by a friend to see ‘West Side Story’ in Tampa with Jerome Robbins original choreography. I was blown away! I was told they were having auditions for one role the following week in NY and I flew up. My first time in NY! I went to the non-union call, no sheet music, sang ‘Big Spender’’acapella, and three weeks later received a call that I had booked the job. I was ecstatic and thought I had made it big time! Haha. From there I booked the first National tour of Ragtime and four more shows on Broadway. I was very lucky with work, but I wasn’t very happy living there. I love NY, don’t get me wrong, but visiting is a much better option for me. I needed my outdoor time and daily dose of sunshine. After three months of backpacking through South America, I came back to NY, hyperventilated on a jam-packed subway and took that as my cue to get out. I bought a car and drove across country. I came to LA to pursue dance, but after six months of music video auditions literally dressed in my lingerie, I decided that it wasn’t quite for me. A friend of mine suggested taking acting classes at Playhouse West. I didn’t think I’d last very long, but it turns out I loved it and I’ve been pursuing it ever since.
You’ve had a number of roles in different film and TV projects – which actors/actresses have been your favourites to work with so far? Any good stories?
I love my job! It’s so unpredictable. Every experience is unique and wonderful. I once booked a promo for the show ‘Monk’, working opposite Tony Shalhoub. I was a Nurse whose job was to quickly hand him a robe and make sure I left the room before he had a chance to say anything. I auditioned the day before the shoot. I received a call from my agent at 10:30am telling me I had until 11:30am to get there to be seen for the audition. Yeah, thankfully, I was near by. I can’t remember how many crazy takes they had me do for a one line read. With a clipboard, without a clipboard, walk on the line, don’t walk on the line, etc. I thought it was pretty ridiculous, but 15 minutes later, I got a call from my agent telling me I had booked it. So, I get to set, meet the director and ask him jokingly which take he liked the most. He wasn’t very friendly and told me it wasn’t about me and was adamant that I moved as fast as possible. Mmmm, OK. So, I’m rehearsing without Tony and I guess I’ve already upset the director because he yells stop, and calls me over to tell me that he needs me to be like a robot. I have to move and speak faster. OK. I’m starting to get a little frustrated. Now they bring in Tony and I blaze through my lines, try to hand him the robe and he doesn’t take it from me. I react honestly to the situation, and try to hand it to him again. The director got really upset. I guess I should have thrown it at him? Tony sees what’s going on and apologizes to the director and to me for not taking the robe. My next take was so fast you should have seen Tony’s look. Haha. I apologized to him and passed on the director’s notes for me. Tony then took the director aside and asked for a normal paced take. It was easy and perfect and we were done! I ran into Tony at lunch and graciously thanked him for helping me out. I told him that I tried to talk to the director, but it wasn’t of much use. Tony said, “Sometimes you just don’t give them the option. You do what feels right for you and that’s it. Stand your ground.” It was a great lesson from a great actor!
As I mentioned before you’re also a stunt performer – what made you want to get into this part of the industry and what’s the worst injury you’ve sustained?
It was purely by accident. It sort of found me I guess. I originally went in for a James Cameron ‘promo video’ audition that my dance agent sent me on. We later found out that they were searching for the lead female for ‘Avatar’, but we had no idea what they were looking for at the time. It was non-union and I wasn’t going to go because I was SAG, but for some crazy reason I changed my mind last-minute. They were looking for ‘very sexy and hot’ rock climbers, sword fighters, free runners, etc. Haha. The waiting room was filled with women dressed in black and sexy knee-high boots ceaselessly working out there badass fighting combinations. The stunt coordinator called 5 or 6 girls in at a time and told us to put down our weapons and take off our heels. He explained very seriously, that we were going to jump off this box with a bow and arrow and hunt and be creative and of course be very sexy. The jumping and hunting and being creative with a bow and arrow began. Lol. This story is told much better with a little animation by the way. Anyway, we all walked out and were like OK, that was a complete waste of time. The next morning at 10am I get a call from the same stunt coordinator asking me if I would be interested in doubling Teri Hatcher on ‘Desperate Housewives’. I told him I had no experience, but he assured me I just had to slap somebody if she didn’t feel comfortable doing it. With that, I got into the Stunt Player’s Directory and a call a few months later from Andy Cheng for ‘Twilight’. Stunt work seemed like a good fit for me and so I embraced the training. On a daily basis I’m learning how to get set on fire, how to shoot guns, stunt drive, ride a motorcycle, sharpen my fighting skills, the list is endless and I love doing all of it. So if I can get paid to do what I love to do, why not?
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
Clint Eastwood, because he’s Clint Eastwood. Maybe also because the role Hilary Swank played in ‘Million Dollar Baby’ would be a dream role to play. Overall I’d just love to hear him talk about his incredible life and stories.
My mother’s father. I never got a chance to meet him but he sounded like an incredible man.
Martin Strel. The man who swam the Amazon river – 3,273 miles. I want to hear how in the world he did it!
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
Joss Stone, Justin Nozuka, Missy Higgins, The Arctic Monkeys, Vintage Trouble, Stevie Wonder….My I-Pod needs a little updating. I spend more time listening to my friends I-Pods =)
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I have a few projects in the works but nothing set in stone, so I will let you know when it does!
Thanks for the interview!